2014 OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour champion Andrew Gresel confirmed this week that he is the latest driver to commit to the upstart APC United Late Model Series for the 2015 season.
The second-generation star has acquired a Port City chassis from former Pro Late Model standout Cody Coughlin, and has already begun preparations to have the new acquisition ready for Round 1 of the tour at Sunset Speedway on May 23.
“I think this new tour is going to be the best thing to happen to Ontario in a long time,” Gresel told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “The Pro Late Model division out here feels like it’s been drifting apart the last few years. Different speedways offering unique rules packages and conflicting schedules really hurt the division”
“The fact that this tour has brought all the speedways, promoters and racers together in such a short time frame is incredible”
Gresel earned a Pro Late Model championship racing weekly at London, Ontario’s Delaware Speedway prior to jumping to the OSCAAR Super Late Model Tour, and hopes for a smooth transition in his return to the division.
“I thinking moving back into a Pro Late Model is going to be just like riding a bike,” says Gresel. “We won our championship at Delaware in 2011 and continued racing weekly until we committed to the OSCAAR tour in 2013 – so it’s not like we’ve been gone that long”
“These cars obviously drive a lot differently than an outlaw-bodied Super Late Model, but I have confidence in myself and the people around me and I know that we have what it takes to get back up to speed in no time”
When asked if he feels the division has changed in the two seasons since he was a fulltime weekly contender, Gresel explains that as the cars evolve so too do the competitors.
“If you look at any style of car in this sport, you’ll notice the changes from year-to-year,” opines the 30-year old veteran. “The Pro Late Models are no different. Spotting some of the advancements they’ve made in two years wasn’t a huge surprise.
“What I noticed more was how the competition all over the province has stepped up. The veterans that were winning races two years ago are even better and even the kids that are just moving into the division are showing some serious skills. There are no slouches in this division, and this new tour is just going to bring the very best together in a way that we’ve never seen before”
Coming off of a championship campaign with the lauded OSCAAR tour in 2014 – a season that saw Gresel notch five victories and earn top-five finishes in all 12 tour events – it’s clear the Hepworth, ON-based driver has his sights set on back-to-back titles.
“The championship is what we’re here for,” says Gresel. “This is a team that isn’t happy with second best. All of my guys are just as competitive as I am. We all push each other and we feed off that energy. If I didn’t think we had a shot at winning, I wouldn’t be here”
“I don’t think we’re any different from the other teams on this roster,” smiles the soft-spoken standout. “Any driver with a Pro Late Model in their shop right now is going to sleep thinking about winning this championship. Everyone is going to remember the tour’s inaugural season, and earning the championship would be a huge honor.”
-By Spencer Lewis, Speed51.com Canadian Editor – Twitter: @itsspencerlewis
-Photo credit: Thompson Photography